- Don't worry, be happy. You want photos of yourself smiling, so remember to relax. If you're tense and worried, there isn't much the photographer can do. Don't worry about the small stuff. It's your wedding day. Enjoy it.
- Get out and greet guests. Photos of the bride and groom greeting their guests, make some of the best photos. Ask for introductions to guests that you don't know. Don't hide in a room somewhere and only come out for the ceremonial entrance.
- Don't over-schedule. It's going to be a long day. While it might be tempting to schedule a photo shoot in a park or garden somewhere, that will only add to the exhaustion. If you do want formal photos, have them somewhere nearby.
- Prepare for your spouse to tear-up. Grooms especially, sometimes don't know what to do and stand awkwardly when their bride cries. Give her a hug.
Chinese Wedding Dinner, Group Photos
The main thing to look out for during a Chinese wedding dinner, is the timing. If you start taking the group table photos too late, guests could start to leave before you finish. Assume a minimum of 2 minutes for each table. With 50 tables, that's 100 minutes, or 1 hour and 40 minutes!
To speed up the process, have one or two relatives work one table ahead of you. They will arrange the guests before you arrive, to save time. Check with the photographer to see if he has any preferences in terms of positioning the guests.
The relatives should have a printed map of all the tables, and cross them off one by one, to ensure that none are missed. They should also keep track of the time to see if the photography is ahead or behind schedule. If it is behind schedule, they can advise the couple to speed things up.
While this might sound a bit stern, try to avoid chatting with guests while posing for the photo. This just makes all the other guests wait for you to finish, because the photographer can't continue until you stop. Talk with them before and after the photo has been taken.
If you have a small number of tables (say, less than 20), you can afford to relax the above guidelines a bit.
Walk around and go from table to table, before the photo taking session (and encourage your parents to do the same). This gives you more time to talk to guests compared to during the photo taking session. It also creates good photo opportunities.
Malay and Indian Wedding, Group Photos
For Malay and Indian weddings, the group photos are taken with the bride and groom on a dais or stage (unlike Chinese wedding dinners where the couple move from table to table).
The main difficulty in this type of situation is that there will be many guests who will also want to take group photos, using their own cameras. The people posing for the photo don't know which camera to look at, and end up looking in different directions, which makes for rather strange photos.
To avoid this, arrange for a relative to direct the people's attention to each photographer in turn, starting with the official photographer. The relative should raise his arm and point at the current photographer. Do not depend on the photographer to direct the photography, as some relatives might be offended. They will be more willing to listen to a close relative of the bride or groom.
There can be as many as 10 or more guests taking photographs, so there might not be enough time for all the photographers. The relative will have to decide when to stop.
Wedding Dinner Venue Selection
These tips apply mainly to indoor restaurants and ballrooms, but might be useful for outdoor venues as well.
Choose a venue with:
- A white ceiling. This is to allow the photographer to "bounce" the camera flash off the ceiling, for a more natural look. It's not necessary to have a pure white ceiling, off-white or creamy should be fine (discuss with your photographer). Most locations do have a white ceiling, but a few don't. Wooden paneling looks good, but doesn't work well with flash.
- Bright lights. Instead of using flash, some photographers might use "available light." Bright lights will help the photographer. Keep them on as long as possible. Don't dim the lights for mood: it won't matter to most of the guests anyway.
- A large lobby for guests to mingle before the dinner. This generates lots of good photo opportunities. Don't forget to mingle with the guests, yourself.
The advice given here, is derived from personal experience. It might not be suitable for all situations. Use your own common sense and judgment and modify as necessary. And don't forget to smile!
Copyright © Yuen Kit Mun 2012 All Rights Reserved.